After several minutes of silence, he asked in his most guttural voice:
“Do you love her?”
Adamsberg shrugged again and said nothing.
“I don’t ind if you keep your trap shut,” Watchee said. “I’m not sleepy. I can ask you the question all night long. When the sun rises, I’ll still be here, and I’ll ask you again, and I’ll go on asking until you answer. And if we’re both still here six years from now, still waiting for Massart to make an appearance, I’ll be asking you the same question. I don’t mind. I’m not sleepy.”
Adamsberg smiled and drank some more wine.
“Do you love her?” Watchee asked.
“Your question is getting on my nerves.”
“That proves it’s a good question.”
“I never said it was a bad question.”
“I don’t mind. I’ve got all night, and I’m not sleepy.”
“Asking a question,” Adamsberg said, “means that you know the answer, otherwise you shut up.”
“That’s true,” said Watchee. “I do know the answer.”
“Why do you let other men have her?”
Adamsberg kept his peace.
“I don’t mind,” said Watchee. “I’ve got all night.”
“Bugger that, Watchee. She doesn’t belong to me. Nobody belongs to anybody.”
“Stop acting all sophisticated. Why do you let other men have her?”
“Ask the wind why it doesn’t stay in the leaves of the tree.”
“Who’s the wind, then? You? Or her?”
Adamsberg smiled. “We take turns.”
“That’s not bad, young fella.”
“But the wind moves on,” said Adamsberg.
“And the wind comes back,” said Watchee.
“That’s the whole problem. The wind always comes back.
Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau, writing as Fred Vargas, Seeking Whom He May Devour (1999), trans. from the French by David Bellos